Mar 13, 2015
In Focus: Matt Hankin
This week we speak to rising star Matt Hankin…
The Saracens flanker has been at Saracens for four years, having graduated from the academy in the summer of 2014.
Going back to Matt’s roots, we discovered it was Hankin’s brother that influenced him to pick up a rugby ball for the first time.
“I went down to Beckenham Rugby Club at U10s with my brother and my dad. My brother had decided to join and he just turned to me and said ‘do you want to join as well?’ Just being a sheep and wanting to follow my brother I said alright; and it started from there really.
“My dad took me, but it was my Grandad that was big on rugby. He had played for the police and was the same position as me now. I think it must have skipped a generation, but luckily it came round to me."
Despite his natural ability, rugby wasn’t always a clear career path for Hankin.
“I didn’t really think much about it. I wasn’t that into rugby when I was younger - I definitely picked it up as I went along. My knowledge of the game wasn’t up to scratch back then.
“I played hockey and I was squash captain at school, but that was only because the squash coach was also my rugby coach – a few of the boys weren't too happy about," Hankin joked.
Matt eventually found himself in the Saracens Academy and made his first appearance for the club in 2014.
“When I first came to Sarries I had all these profile players around me and it was quite intimidating.
“My first appearance was here at Allianz Park against London Irish, and I managed to get on for the last 15 minutes. I remember being quite nervous. I’d been used to playing Storm games and it was a huge step up. I’d finally played a bit of premiership rugby and found out what it was like. I've been more involved this year, which has been great.
Hankin’s performances in the LV= Cup this season haven’t gone unnoticed, as the Saracens flanker's been nominated for the breakthrough player of the year award in the competition.
Looking forward to this Saturday, we asked Matt how the preparation was going and how important the game was.
“We’ve had to prepare really well this week. We’ve got a bit of history with Northampton. There’s definitely pride at stake. We’re at our home ground and they’re coming to us.
“They beat us twice in the competition last year, so we’re going to be more fired up then we ever have been. We’ve got good players, a good plan and hopefully we can execute and make it to the final.”